Bheema: Hero of Gond Pandvani

Bheema: Hero of Gond Pandvani

in Video
Published on: 17 June 2019
Chhattisgarh, 2019

The Gonds relate stories of the Pandavas in which Bheem plays a central role.  One of the many mythologies around Bheem connects him to the mandar baja, a musical instrument that causes rain to fall when played. Bheem plays the mandar baja which appeases god Indra, and leads to rain. In the month just preceding the rainy season. Adivasis take out a Bheem jatra. A pole, representing Bheem in aniconic form, is covered up with cow dung. It is believed this suffocates the spirit of Bheem inside the pole. He then prevails upon  Indra to release rain, and wash off the dung.   The mandar baja is played in celebration, women sing songs of Bheem, and Bheem's marriage takes place. 

The video records a conversation with Khiruram Gond at Kopabeda Bastar, on the stories linking  Bheem to rain and the mandar baja, at a site where he is worshiped. It situates rituals and myths related to the Pandvani in Chhattsigarh. The practice of singing the Pandvani is now absent amongst the Gonds of Bastar, though it would have once formed part of lore sung by the Pardhan Gonds. 


This content has been created as part of a project commissioned by the Directorate of Culture and Archaeology, Government of Chhattisgarh, to document the cultural and natural heritage of the state of Chhattisgarh.